Jeremy Abbott won the gold at Cup of China despite placing 3rd in both the short program and the free skate. He has a fun swing themed short program choreographed by So You Think You Can Dance winner Benji Schwimmer and a free skate that is classic Abbott with a beautiful lyrical quality that is wonderful to watch and will be breathtaking when he hits it clean. He has the 7th best short program and free skate of the season as well as the 5th place total score. He needs a 1st-4th place finish to qualify for the Final.
Javier Fernandez surprised with a silver medal finish at Skate Canada, beating Patrick Chan and Daisuke Takahashi in the short program. He has a very nice skating quality and quads in both of his programs and showed he could handle the pressure of being the leader in the free skate. He has the 2nd best short program and 3rd best free skate of the season as well as the 2nd best total score of the season. While his Skate Canada score was huge, he scored 50 points less at Nebelhorn Trophy earlier this season. He needs a 1st or 2nd place finish to qualify. He can also qualify with a 3rd place finish under certain conditions: If Hanyu does not win he needs 196.78 points to qualify. If Hanyu wins, he needs 200.52 points to qualify.
Yuzuru Hanyu finished in 4th place at Cup of China after an impressive comeback freeskate. If he can skate his short program clean he can be in the mix for the medals and the top of the podium. He has the 9th best free skate score and 8th best total score of the season. He needs a gold medal win to qualify for the Final.
Artur Gachinski skated to a 1st place finish in the short program at Cup of China but imploded in the free skate and finished well off the podium. He'll have to handle the pressure of the home crowd and put out two clean programs if he wants to medal at this event. He has the 5th best short program and 9th best total score of the season.
Brandon Mroz could also spoil for a medal. He finished 3rd in the short program at NHK Trophy with the first quad lutz jump ever landed in an ISU competition but really struggled in his free skate to land any clean jumps and dropped to the bottom of the pack. He'll have to focus on the whole package and not just the one jump if he wants to medal here, but the quad lutz is a huge point getter so if he hits that and the rest of the program he can put up a big score.
Michal Brezina has already claimed two medals and a spot in the Final this season but he has capitalized on other skaters mistakes to claim those medals by skating conservative programs. This is a difficult field and his scores don't match up with the top skaters and he'll need to throw something else out there if he wants to take home another medal and improve his placement in the Final.
Patrick Chan, Daisuke Takahashi and Michal Brezina have already claimed spots in the Final. Nan Song and Takahiko Kozuka are on the bubble and could qualify depending on the results of this event.
My podium predictions:
Gold: Javier Fernandez
Silver: Jeremy Abbott
Bronze: Yuzuru Hanyu
Bios of the competitors:
Andrei Rogozine, CAN: He is the reigning World Junior Champion. He placed 7th at Skate Canada. He qualified for the JGPF last season and won bronze. His personal best is 193.40. He is 18 years old.
Michal Brezina, CZE: He placed 4th at Worlds and 8th at Europeans. He won gold at Skate America and bronze at Trophee Eric Bompard to qualify for the Grand Prix Final. He is the 2009 World Junior Silver Medalist. His personal best is 236.06. He is 21 years old.
Yuzuru Hanyu, JPN: He is the reigning Four Continents Silver Medalist. He placed 4th at Cup of China. He is the 2010 World Junior Champion. His personal best is 228.01. He is 16 years old.
Artur Gachinski, RUS: He is the reigning World bronze medalist and finished 5th at Europeans. He placed 5th at Cup of China. He is the 2010 World Junior bronze medalist. His personal best is 241.86. He is 18 years old.
Konstantin Menshov, RUS: He placed 7th at Europeans. He finished 6th at NHK Trophy. His personal best is 202.62. He is 28 years old.
Sergei Voronov, RUS: He placed 12th at Cup of China last season. He is the 2006 World Junior silver medalist and 2007 World Junior bronze medalist. His personal best is 220.39. He is 24 years old.
Javier Fernandez, ESP: He placed 10th at Worlds and 9th at Europeans. He won silver at Skate Canada. His personal best is 250.33. He is 20 years old.
Jeremy Abbott, USA: He is the reigning Four Continents bronze medalist. He won gold at Cup of China. He is the 2007 Four Continents bronze medalist. His personal best is 237.72. He is 26 years old.
Brandon, Mroz, USA: He finished 9th at NHK Trophy. His personal best is 216.80. He is 20 years old.